All those years ago, back when Shrek came out, it was considered a huge success. It had a story which felt easy to get sucked into, with a unique theme and a punchy comedic style as well as characters of various, specific personalities and a convincing chemistry. Three years later, in response to this success, Shrek 2 was released. And unlike most modern sequels, it actually wasn’t bad.
However, many of the things which made Shrek great were different from the things that made Shrek 2 great. While the characters remained as lively as ever, the story had a little less impact. It did, however, feel more epic; more drawn out. And while it dealt with more complicated themes, it did so in a way so as not to subtract from the overall atmosphere of the film.
I think that this relationship between Shrek and Shrek 2 is somewhat mirrored in the more recent Despicable Me and its new sequel, Despicable Me 2. The original film followed Gru (Steve Carell), a diabolical supervillain with plans to steal the moon out of the sky. However, when complications arise, he is forced to adopt three orphan girls in order to remain on track. (Then he increasingly grows attached, rethinks his life, et cetera et cetera)
In this film, Gru is enlisted by a government organization to assist in the search for a new villainous threat. Helping him is his female partner (you know what that means), Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig).
Unlike the first film, which was fairly linear in nature, this movie jumps into several subplots, most of which address central themes, such as the childhood need for a mother and teenage detachment. However, while these make up some of the more serious segments of the story, there’s plenty of action and humor to go around. Like with Shrek 2, this story feels a lot less constrained, and that attitude alone manages to carry the movie’s faults, such as its slightly weaker plot.
The best thing about Despicable Me 2, however, is its humor. Don’t get me wrong, it has fart jokes (it is a kids’ movie), but it also has a lot of more clever humor, including some references which will probably miss kids entirely. Overall, it is consistently funny, and if you’re like me, it shouldn’t leave you bored for a second.
Age Recommendation: Are you afraid of exposing your kid to a few fart jokes? If so, fine, don’t take them. But I really think this movie is pretty much suitable for everyone.
Final Verdict: A lively continuation of the first film, which, although being somewhat predictable, is captivating the whole way through. 9/10